Caregiving Technology: Integration with IoT

By Special Guest
Sophia Lynch and Shrey Fadia, Correspondents
March 08, 2018

Caregivers always have anxieties about whether their loved ones are safe alone at home. One survey led by EFC says, in the UK, one out of six people give preference to caring for an elderly loved one but are forced to give up working to do so.

The predicament faced in challenging situations like these is when one is not being available around-the-clock for your loved ones when they need you. The population in the USA of adults with age 85 and more is estimated to be triple between the year 2015 and 2060, which will make it the fastest growing age group, as per AARP Publication.

During this time where you are not available, IoT sensors can monitor healthcare data and make it available to you and your loved ones 24/7.

Over the last few years, engineers have invented a new way of caring for elderly adults by using IoT technology to monitor an individual remotely. Special applications developed by companies are used to generate alerts and notifications if something is wrong. According to Aging 2.0, home caregiving is the fastest evolving sector in aging technology as nearly 100 million ventures and start-ups have been funded to leverage the technology.

If a loved one were to need you at a time when they fell from the bed at night and can’t reach to a telephone, or if you want to keep a track of medicines they had, IoT technology can alleviate your worries.

These are worries that become tedious every time you must call them and ask, for example, if they remembered to take their meds. Fortunately, IoT applications give you a notification if they were to fall or forgot to take their medicine. You can instantly reach out to them and provide the support they need.

IoT Wearables and similar technologies can track physical movement of older adults, their motion, water level content in the body, and environmental situations. The sensors in these wearables collectively transmit the data through gateways, to the cloud, and to a central dashboard.

Caregivers have never been as stressed as they are in today’s busy world. TruSense, a company who provides solutions for elderly adults and caregivers has developed a smart home monitoring solution which helps caregivers live stress-free. TruSense solutions help people live the independent life they always enjoyed.

The company provides a package of sensors, such as motion sensors, with an addition of a GPS pendant (optional) as well as other devices that are easily installed in two steps.

By verifying whether a hub is communicating with other sensors perfectly, these devices work together in perfect harmony.

If a caregiver doesn’t have time to check the activities on the customized app, they can simply set up alerts that will notify them whether their loved one has come out of the bathroom, left the home, and more

TruSense also works in collaboration with Amazon’s Alexa, and this advanced integration with has made TruSense a unique choice among caregivers.

Zanthion, a company determined in developing IoT solutions for adults, has created a medical monitoring system with fall detection. Depending on the subscription plan, it works to connect adults with their neighbors, emergency responders, and families using IoT technologies. This software sends notifications about a fall, hours of sleep, and a few unique features as listed here:

  1. Special sensors installed with this system will open a window if it’s too hot inside
  2. It can turn on the light when your loved one rolls out of bed
  3. Environmental sensors can measure air quality, refrigerator temperature, even open doors

Zanthion provides all the analytics, sensor data and installation at no cost, which makes it a special system for caregivers who would like to keep eye on their loved ones.

Caregivers who are also worried about the dietary intake and lifestyles of their loved adults, Qorvo has introduced the Senior lifestyle system. This system learns the routine of an individual senior resident and provides the status of their activities. When an unexpected situation occurs, it notifies their caregivers so they can provide what is needed.

GreatCall produces jitterbug phones that have special applications like GreatCall Link that manages a routine and medications reminder. Whether your loved one has a salon appointment or if they have an appointment with a doctor; whether she has taken a medicine or if they need more sleep, GreatCall Link helps monitor their loved one’s routine schedule.

In addition, GreatCall provides “5Star Urgent Response,” which helps to locate nearby emergency medical services using GPS if necessary.

Another company in this field is Alarm. Alarm’s wellness tool uses real-time sensor information and develops routine patterns using special algorithms, as well as giving caregivers an insight into daily life.

Actions like sleep, fall detection, eating habits, bathroom activities, and medication can be monitored with this system, and the data is sent to the caregivers through phone calls or text messages and emails.

Onkol, another major player in the market, recently partnered with Gemalto, the global leader in M2M technology and digital security to develop a simple-to-use invention that connects older adults and caregivers.

They developed an mHealth device that allows the monitoring of older adults at home accurately and effortlessly. The hub gathers the data from medical devices via protocols such as Bluetooth, USB, Wi-Fi, ZigBee and communicate with family members and caregivers.

The device is also capable of tracking phone calls, environmental condition, and medication reminders. It is believed that this innovation led by Gemalto is a breakthrough device to date for aging technology. Gemalto’s SVP Rodrigo Serna said, “We were able to work with OnKol to create an innovative product that has not yet been seen in the market and is customized to its end user's specific needs.”

IoT leverages healthcare in every possible way with the introduction of special monitoring systems at home, and smart wearables to track the patterns of an individual. The concept of Telemedicine has evolved over the past few years and has come to the treating of patients remotely.

Doctors or healthcare providers can communicate with patients through video streaming and applications. Conditions are monitored through state of the art healthcare systems installed inside a home, and providers can provide an immediate solution if something unexpected happens.

These data monitoring solutions are possible with the integration of IoT technology in caregiving routine. With so many people accepting IoT strategies, we are expecting to see the market for older adults and caregivers continue to grow in the future.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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